Site hosted by Angelfire.com: Build your free website today!

Hari's Carnatic - Click to go home

SwaraQuick Navigate

Back 
Back to the page

What is Swara ?

Indian music, as with all systems of music, has seven notes or swaras. Swara is defined as "that which is able to please on its own accord". Organisation of swaras in various patterns/orders creates Ragas. Time measure to Indian music is controlled by Tala.

The seven swaras in Indian music are:

These are often represented as Sa, Re, Ga, Ma, Pa, Da and Ne, by their first syllable.

Of these seven swaras, Sa and Pa don't admit any variations and hence they are called achala (fixed) or avikratha (changeless) swaras.

The other five swaras - Re, Ga, Ma, Da and Ne allows two varieties each and terms Komal and Tivra are used to distinguish these two, with Komala swaram lower in note than the Tivra swaram. 

Thus  we have:

  1. Shadjamam - An achala swara, does not admit any variations

  2. Rishabam

    1. Sudha (Komal) Rishabam

    2. Chathusruthi (Tivra) Rishabam

  3. Gandharam

    1. Sadharana (Komal) Gandharam

    2. Antara (Tivra) Gandharam

  4. Madhyamam

    1. Sudha (Komal) Madhyamam

    2. Prati (Tivra) Madhyamam

  5. Panchamam - An achala swara, does not admit any variations

  6. Dhivatham 

    1. Sudha (Komal) Dhivatham 

    2. Chatussruthi (Tivra) dhivatham

  7. Nishadham

    1. Kaisiki (Komal) Nishadham

    2. Kakali (Tivra) Nishadham.

Thus, in Carnatic Music we get 12 distinctive swaras or notes .

In addition, four of the swaras, Ri, Ga, Da and Ne extend to another variety overlapping with the next swarasthanam. This give rise to four more swaras. Note however that the note (swara sthana) is shared between two swaras. Thus totaling to 16 swaras in all.

It may be noted from the above, the sudha swaras, also known as prakrithi swaras have the prefix Sudha and is usually the lowest pitched note for that swara. The vikratha swaras have prefixes like chatussruthi, shatshuruthi, sadharana, antara. In Hindustani music, Sudha swara usually refer to Sankarabharana scale (Bilval).

Top

Swara and Swara Sthanam

Swaram

Notation

Western

Sthanam

Sadjamam

Sa

C

1

Suddha Rishabam (Komal)

Re1

C #

2

Chathusruthi Rishabam (Tivra)

Re2

D

3

Shatsruthi Rishabam

Re3

D #/ E b

4

Suddha Gandharam

Ga1

D

3

Sadharana Gandharam

Ga2

D # /E b

4

Anthara Gandharam

Ga3

E

5

Suddha Madhyamam

Ma1

F

6

Prati Madhyamam

Ma2

F #/G b

7

Panchamam

Pa

G

8

Suddha Dhaivatham

Da1

G #/A b

9

Chathusruthi Dhaivatham

Da2

A

10

Shatsruthi Dhaivatham

Da3

A #/ B b

11

Suddha Nishadam

Ne1

A

10

Kaisiki Nishadam

Ne2

A #/B b

11

Kakali Nishadam

Ne3

B

12

Back

Top

Acknowledgement:
http://raaga.net